[See Letters XXIIIa and XXIIIb, Question and Answer No. 8. — Eds]
ALL THINGS CONTRIBUTE TO ALL THINGS
It is the teaching of the God-Wisdom that every member of the Solar System is a living entity, a god imbodied. Such is the sun, such is every planet, such is every comet. Furthermore, the Solar System itself as a whole is an entity, precisely as our human body is an entity as a whole, a unit, yet containing within itself different organs, each such organ itself being an individual, a unit, a living entity with a consciousness of its own kind.
Do you see what this means? That just as our body, an organic entity itself, is helped in being such by the different organs, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, the liver, the stomach, and so forth, so the Solar System, itself an organic entity, is aided in being such by all the organic units within it: the sun, the planets, the comets, and so forth. They all co-operate to produce a greater thing, i. e., the Solar Kingdom, with the sun as its king or chief.
What deduction must we draw from this? That, co-operating as all these units do towards a common end, nothing can be done properly in the Solar System if a single one of these bodies refuses co-operative action and union in effort; and "union" here does not mean two or three organs joining to oppose two or three other organs. It means all organic units without a single exception cooperating for the common universal good. If there is not this co-operation, if, for instance, one single organ were to die, then the whole organism dies, because the harmony and symmetry of the greater unit is interrupted, killed, stopped. It is just the same with the human body. Suppose my heart stopped working, died — my body would die. If my stomach disintegrated, my body would die; and similarly so with any other organ — even the skin or the tissues or the flesh or the bones: we need all these different things to make a complete and rightly functioning human body. So it is with the Solar System.
Thus when we say that all things co-operate to produce all things, we may be referring to all things on this earth; but it may also mean that this earth in its turn co-operates with every other body in the Solar System to produce the proper effects on every other planet and on the sun. How about rain, for instance, and the other meteorological phenomena of this earth? How about storms of any kind: snow-storms, hail-storms, rain-storms, electric storms? Shall we say that only one thing in the Solar System produces these, whether it be sun-spots" or the planets, or perhaps one planet, as some astrologers quite wrongly say? No. All things work together to produce all things everywhere.
Thus, when we come to answering the question: Are the sun-spots the cause of the meteorological phenomena on this earth? the answer has to be no, because that would exclude all the other contributing causes and causers. The sun-spots play their appropriate part; so does every planet. But what is the most important factor, the greatest cause in the production of these things on our earth? It is the earth itself. But the earth itself could not produce them unless it had the help of all the other co-operating or consentient gods, as the Greeks and Romans phrased it; in other words of the sun, the planets, the comets.
What makes heat? What makes rain? What makes cold on this earth? Magnetism, to be sure; electricity, to be sure. But these are the forces. What makes these things fundamentally? The vitality of the earth co-operating with the vitality received from the other planets, and from the sun and the comets. All things co-operate to make all things. A key, a master-key.
Actually, if you want the mechanical cause, the immediate cause, that is, the cause just preceding the effect — not the first cause — it is the dilatation of the earth's atmosphere and its contraction. The atmosphere of the earth is one of the most marvelous organs of our Mother-Earth. Look upon the earth as a living being, or as the Latins would say, an animal (from the Latin word anima, meaning life). Animal in Latin means a living being, a human or beast, for instance. Even a plant is an "animal" in this sense, only very feebly so; because anima meant, more particularly, what in Theosophy is called the animal soul — the nephesh of the Qabbalah.
The earth is constantly surcharged with vital power. There are times when it is almost bursting, and the inner power must have an escape: it must be discharged, because the pressure of the whole Solar System is behind it. Take the instance of earthquakes: they are my pet horror, they just turn my blood cold because I am always thinking of the damage to human beings, and the wretchedness that they can cause; yet they are one of the greatest blessings, for the earth is releasing energy which could otherwise become devastatingly explosive. Our earth would simply burst; it would blow up, if there were not these periodic discharges.
It is like the vitality that a human being is constantly throwing forth — by his walking, by his speaking, by his moving, by the circulation of his blood. Every time he lifts a finger he is throwing off energy. Suppose all the energy that the body produces could by some magic be clamped down and kept in the body, the body would explode, simply blow up; the tissues would be torn apart.
Of course there is the other side of the picture: if the expenditure of energy is too great, then you have the other extreme, and you have disease or death. But why does the human body do this? It is doing in its own small sphere, in its own small line, what the planets are doing, contributing its quota to the vitality of the earth; and this vitality comes into -the human body from above, and from what passes in and out in the exchange of the life-atoms amongst us all. All things contribute to all things; they receive and give constantly. (1)
Do you realize that there is more vitality in the body in old age than there is in youth? Old age is not a cause of deprivation of vitality; it is a case of too much vitality. The body cannot build up fast enough. The intense life of the adult human being is slowly wrecking the body, causing it to age. The body cannot build fast enough. The life-pulsations are quicker than the building power. Consequently you get the greying hair, the failing eyesight, the failing hearing, and all the phenomena that age brings. Health is simply balance; and the longer you can keep in health the longer you live — if you want to! If it is advisable! Some people seem to think that a long life is a mark of sanctity. It is very often not just so. Sometimes the grossest people are the longest-lived. There is an old Latin proverb which says: "The gods love those who die young," meaning the gods take those they love when they are young — not when the gods are young, but when those they take are young. The gods themselves are perennially young.
Now to return to the matter of the earth's atmosphere, which is continually dilating or expanding. We know that when this expansion occurs we have the dropping of the barometer, that sensitive instrument we have learned how to build which registers the air-pressure. It is a sign of rain. And we all know the chill in the air that follows a rain-storm even in the summer-time. We say "It cooled the air." The opposite effect, heat, is produced when the atmosphere condenses or contracts, and the greater pressure on the barometer causes it to go up. "Fair weather," we say, "and heat," — relative heat according to the season, of course.
What causes these contractions and dilatations of the earth's atmosphere? Mainly the periodic, vital pulsations in the earth itself. But these pulsations are intimately connected every instant of time, without a second's interruption, with all the other bodies of the Solar System. All things contribute to all things. The sun and all the planets are connected with the dilatations and contractions of the earth's atmosphere. Thus far the astrologers are perfectly right. But to say that it is the planets which make these things, that the planets are the sole cause, that is all wrong. All things contribute to all things: the sun and planets give me health; they give me disease. But so do I give myself both health and disease. All things contribute to all things. That is the master-key.
Now these contractions, or pressures as the modern scientific phraseology has it, of the atmosphere, and these dilatations of the atmosphere, are mainly caused by the actual meteoric continent surrounding our globe like a thick shell. You will say, "But how can it be such a thick shell when we can see right through it; we can see the sun and the stars and the clouds?" Suppose instead of my present eye-sight I had an electric eye. Why then I could look right along a copper wire. Such things as copper and iron would be transparent to me. But with my present eye-sight I cannot see through a copper wire or along a 5000 mile stretch of copper wire because I have not the electric eye. On the other hand, with the electric eye I could not see things I now see. The fact is that our eye-sight has been evolved by Nature, or, if you like, evolved by Karman, so that we can look right through this meteoric mass surrounding our earth like a shell; and all we see of it is what we call the blue of the sky. That is the real explanation of the blue of the sky. The scientific theory that it is very fine dust mostly from earth which intercepts the blue rays of the solar spectrum, might be called a weak, partial explanation. I dare not omit even this, because if I did my explanation would be by so much imperfect. There is some truth in it, but to say that it is the cause of the blue of the sky is not true, because that excludes everything else.
All the other planets except Mars are likewise, each one, surrounded with its own meteoric continent. Science knows this and calls them the clouds of the different planets. Call them clouds if you want to. Say that they are clouds of cosmic dust and dust from the respective planets. All right: but they are actually mostly interstellar and interplanetary meteoric dust. Everyone of the planets in our Solar System except Mars, as I have said, is surrounded by such a continent of meteoric dust; and even Mars has a thin gauzy veil of meteoric matter surrounding it. Mars is different from the others because it is in obscuration at present; and on Globe D of the Martian Chain the forces of attraction holding the meteoric continent together have been relaxed, as it were. These magnetic and electric forces surrounding Mars are weak because the meteoric continent around Globe D of Mars has been more or less dissipated throughout space — not quite, but almost. That is the reason we can catch just glimpses of the Martian Globe; but even those glimpses are still uncertain. Our astronomers are not sure that what some see others see. You know the interminable dispute aroused by the discovery of the so-called canals of Mars which Professor Lowell of Flagstaff, Arizona, and others have quite believed so long; and which others deny. Schiaparelli, the Italian astronomer, was the first to speak of these lines years and years ago, and as they seemed to him to resemble canals, he called them canali, the Italian word for canals or channels of any kind; and then people got the idea, because they took the word in the English sense of water-courses, that they must be water-courses. That is still not proved; it may be and it may not be. I do not care to say anything more about that.
Please remember this, Companions; The Solar System is a living being, of which the sun is both the brain and the heart. The different planets are the organs of this organic entity. Our earth is one. They all work together to produce the Solar System as an organism, or a group of organs. All things contribute to all things. Nothing happens on this earth, from the waving of a frond of fern in the wind to the most awful earthquake the world has ever known, except by such co-operating cosmic agency. All are produced mainly by the earth, but with the co-operation of the sun and moon, the planets and comets, for this organic entity moves in synchronous measures of destiny. All things contribute to all things. The birth of every baby is produced by the Solar System, by the earth, especially by the mother; yet all things contribute to produce that baby. The stars do have their effect upon us, most undoubtedly so; and the sun and planets and comets, because the Solar System is an organic living being, and therefore everything within it anywhere is affected by everything within it everywhere. Surely this is true; and it is a wonderful picture.
1. So strangely does the human mind wander into vagaries of imagination, that I find it needful to append this footnote lest the words in the text above be misunderstood by thoughtless or careless people as a kind of indirect endorsement in our human life of the dissipation of vital human forces through immorality or in some other way.
Such misunderstanding of my meaning would be so utterly monstrous, so utterly contrary to every teaching of Theosophy and Occultism, that on no few occasions have I asked myself just how far I can go in stating even simple occult facts, when, as experience has shown me, one or two or more hearers might wrongly take the sense or the significance of what I was trying to say.
I state here without qualification, that any dissipation of the vital powers of the human body or mind in immorality of any form, immediately hastens the approaches of disease and old age, because wearing the body out, and because unnatural. Such dissipation of vitality would be a wilful waste of the life-forces, thus co-operating with the work of the Destroyers. Not only would such waste invite disease and premature senility, but even worse than this would be its effect on the moral stamina and ethical instinct of the human mind, and could in an extreme case result in moral and intellectual degeneration.
Let it be stated that self-control, strict moral conduct and self-forgetfulness are the path of Theosophical occultism, and this is stated without any qualifications whatsoever. Any misuse whatsoever or in any manner of vital power, even such as over-eating or gluttony, drunkenness, or anything along any line causing the body extra strain or depletion is a waste of vital power and therefore has a tendency to bring on disease, speedy old age, and as above hinted, even worse things in its train. (return to text)